Deconstructing ITSM

27 January 2009

Agile Service Management

I’ve been thinking…

  1. I am not a professional software developer or data architect, but I’m very interested in these disciplines through ITSM contact with practitioners and teams. (I often feel there’s a great loss of value in the lack of mutual familiarity between service management and development/data communities.) One of the approaches I have been particularly interested over the past year or so is Agile Software Development, the Agile philosophy – see the Agile Manifesto, and some of the key practices associated with Agile development like test-driven development, refactoring and design patterns.
  2. I observe that many ITSM projects (“implementations” or improvements) suffer from issues with long timescales, inability to cope with changing requirements, lack of user acceptance, and so on. Not all, but those that do suffer tend to be blind to the causes and show resigned acceptance to such issues – or even to be blind to these issues.

Those issues, and others I haven’t listed, are very like the kind of things the authors of the Agile Manifesto were experiencing. Agile development is very successful in certain environments (though not all – and more traditional “big requirements up front”, “big design up front” methods have strong defenders). Could Agile principles be applied usefully to IT Service Management problems? (more…)

Advertisements

21 January 2009

No one needs a CMDB

… Did I just write that? But it’s true. No one needs a CMDB for itself, or a CMS, or an SKMS. Even an outsourced service provider whose client has written “must have a CMDB” into the contract doesn’t need the CMDB itself. Anything will do as a CMDB, to avoid contractual penalties. The client has no external standard to hold the provider to. So they write, or should write, more specific terms to give the desired control. And so should organisations trying to improve configuration management for business value rather than compliance.

What good, specific objectives or contract terms are there for a CMDB, or more accurately a configuration management improvement project?

Here’s one. (more…)

15 January 2009

What’s most important in ITSM in 2009?

Filed under: BSM,ITSM — Joe Pearson @ 19:13
Tags: , , , ,

When it comes down to it, the same things as ever as important, with even more of a focus on cutting cost and reducing risk. In South Africa we’re lucky that the sub-prime mortgage mistakes were not made by our banks, and the credit crunch has not so far affected consumers and businesses directly. But global companies are facing hard times, global markets are affecting local suppliers – especially suppliers to the car industry, and global aversion to risk affects – rightly or wrongly – “developing” markets.

Here are some things I suggest will be the greatest focus for companies in 2009: (more…)

14 January 2009

The Three Little Pigs of ITSM Improvement – A Parable

Filed under: ITSM — Joe Pearson @ 12:00
Tags: , , ,

(There are good ways to improve ITSM, and other ways…)


In the land of ITSM Continual Improvement, near the city of Process Development, there once lived three little pigs. Now the three little pigs weren’t as happy as the proverbial pigs in strategic, holistic information technology. They were continually being attacked by the wolves. They’d trying calling the wolves “customers”, and it didn’t help. So they got together and agreed that they needed to build stronger, best practice, houses made of brick. But they couldn’t agree on how they should do this.

(more…)

13 January 2009

Gather requirements and sell achievement? Sell requirements and gather satisfaction!

(Yes, I struggled to come up with a snappy title for this post that wouldn’t sound like marketing speak.)

In October, Paul Glen (re-)published an article at TechRepublic: Project managers: Stop “gathering” IT requirements and Hank Marquis published an article on CIO Update: Why IT Service Level Management Fails (And How to Fix It).

  • In summary, Paul says that, while a failure to agree requirements is the root of many IT project failures, “gathering” requirements is the wrong attitude. As I’ve also found, customers tend not to be very good at articulating their requirements at the outset of a project (not nearly as good as they are at saying “No, that’s not what I wanted” at the end). Secondly, passively receiving requirements puts IT projects squarely within IT’s responsibility. It’s much better to negotiate or even sell requirements – to my mind, this is actually what customers mean when they complain “I thought it was IT’s job to define requirements”.
  • In similarly brutal summary, for which I apologise, Hank says that service level reporting based on well-defined and controlled metrics – like percentage availability and mean time to repair – fail to address what customers want. He advocates dropping all the tightly-controlled (whether actually or theoretically) metrics and focusing on customer satisfaction. He reports on the SERVQUAL method for reporting quality in service industries in general. I haven’t looked into SERVQUAL enough to say whether it specifically is valuable, but I strongly agree with his principle that “quality is what customers tell you it is”.

It struck me that these two recommendations go together. Establishing, defending or analysing requirements (call this stage what you will) happens at the beginning of a service’s lifecycle, and service reporting happens at what we like to think of as the end (apart from service retirement or decommissioning).

(more…)

12 January 2009

2009 Edition

Filed under: blog — Joe Pearson @ 12:52

OK, I got sidetracked there for a moment

Blog at WordPress.com.